The Israeli Foreign Ministry has labeled a new petition in Britain to arrest Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “a public relations stunt that has no practical significance.”
The online petition on the Parliament’s official website has gathered approximately 80,000 signatures, according to the London Telegraph, only 20,000 short of the number needed for it to be considered as a possible topic for debate in the Parliament.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said in a statement that “the bilateral relations between Britain and Israel are closer than ever.” He noted that trade between Britain and Israel has doubled over the past several years and that academic and cultural cooperation continues, despite attempts by BDS to curtail it.
The petition states:
Benjamin Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September. Under international law he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the U.K. for the massacre of over 2000 civilians in 2014.
The British Foreign Office also dismissed the petition as a “PR exercise, and Conservative MP Sir Eric Prickles said it was “completely absurd” and added:
The petition will have no impact upon the UK-Israel relationship which is stronger than ever and prime minister Netanyahu’s forthcoming visit will enhance it further.
Even the organizer of the petition, Damiam Moran, said he does not expect Netanyahu to be arrested. He told Al Jazeera:
[The government] will just say ‘blah blah blah, universal jurisdiction, good luck’
The British government responded to the petition in abatement:
We were all deeply saddened by the violence. However the Prime Minister [of Britain] was clear on the UK’s recognition of Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself, within the boundaries of international humanitarian law.